When is the right time to start new classes? When they are needed and leaders are ready. What can we do to prepare for starting new classes? What can we do to discern whether a new class is needed? How can we get a new leader ready?
I recently read an article entitled How to Start New Adult Sunday School Classes. In the article, nine actions starting with the letter, "E," are shared as "foundational building blocks on which new adult classes can be started." The web article content came from a brochure prepared by Ron Pratt of the Baptist Sunday School Board, now called LifeWay Christian Resources. I want to share the nine actions in a three-part series. In Part 1, I will share Pratt's first three actions in all capitals followed by my commentary:
- EXPLORE: TO LOOK INTO; TO INVESTIGATE. Out of prayer, where is God leading and what classes are needed? Open your eyes and explore your Sunday School. Pratt's brochure asked some great questions, "How many classes have reached or exceeded recommended enrollment ceilings? How many classes have outgrown current space? Are any special groups not being reached through the existing Sunday School structure? Are some classes so large that teachers are unable to meet members' needs?" How do your classes measure up to good Sunay School growth principles? Pratt lists six adult class principles: "(1) The best class size is 10-12 members and prospects present. (2) An enrollment of 20-25 will usually provide 10-12 in attendance. (3) The maximum size is 25 in order to grow. (4) New classes grow faster. (5) Classes more than two years old may have reached maximum size. (6) New classes tend to visit, reach, and witness to more people than established classes."
- EXAMINE: TO INSPECT OR SCRUTINIZE IN DETAIL. Examine sounds a lot like explore. but examine looks more at details and motives. Are the right people in place? Have they been enlisted, trained, and prepared well? Are you starting the new class for the right group? What other group(s) might be impacted by the starting of this class (preschool, children, youth, etc.)? Has the new class been assigned to the best space? Is the new space ready? Are you starting the new class for the right reason? Has the church been invited to pray for and invite people to the new class?
- ENGAGE: TO DRAW INTO; INVOLVE; PARTICIPATE. Have the pastor and staff been engaged in the new start process? Are they aware of why the new class is needed? Are they willing to lead the church to help with the launch of the new class through prayer and promotion? Some will connect with a new class because the pastor and staff have emphasized it. They will engage because the pastor and staff made joining the new class appear important. Regularly seek out the support of the pastor, staff, and other key church leaders (financial, property, and other groups) for the start of new classes.
Next time, we will look at Pratt's middle three actions for starting new adult classes: educate, enlarge, and enlist. What do you see when you explore your Sunday School and community? What classes need to be started? What resources are available? What do you realize when you examine your Sunday School records and organization? Where can adjustments be made? What can be added? How can you engage groups in the church and in the community through the start of new classes? Pray. Explore. Examine, Engage. Start new classes. Be revolutionary!
For more information about starting new classes, check out: